The UN announced Friday that investigators would enter Libya next week to begin looking into alleged human rights abuses by both rebels and the armed forces of leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The inquiry into the conditions in Libya had been approved by a unanimous vote [JURIST report] of members of the UN Human Rights Council on February 25. The three-person team will be led by Cherif Bassiouni [official profile], who indicated that Libyan officials know that the investigative team will be arriving in Libya [Reuters report] next week. The panel will cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], which last month opened its own investigation [JURIST report] into alleged abuses in Libya.
The eruption of violence in Libya has sparked outrage over alleged abuses by Gaddafi's forces and controversy regarding the proper role of other nations in Libyan affairs. Last month, the ICC's chief prosecutor announced that Libyan officials could face war crimes charges [JURIST report] for attacks on civilians. Earlier in the month, the UN Human Rights Council voted to suspend Libya, which had been a member of that body. With regard to NATO military activity, commentators have argued that military intervention in Libya is contrary to international law [JURIST op-ed]. In the US, one lawmaker proposed legislation that would immediately halt US activities [JURIST report] in enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, stating that President Barack Obama lacked authority to utilize American forces for that role.